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"Hi, thanks for at least doing some attempt to use Google translate, I appreciate it even if that string of words didn't mean anything in particular ;-)"

You're welcome.

"The even more amusing thing is that after all this time, you still seem "concerned"."

I don't think 'concerned' translates from Bulgarian to American correctly. When you say I am 'concerned', here in the USA that means you think I'm deeply worried about it. I'm not worried; I'm laughing at it.

What I am feeling is known in German as 'schadenfreude', and as you are Bulgarian I'm pretty sure you know what that word means, German being a common language of commerce in Europe. If not, Wikipedia will assist you. You and the other moderators spent so much time lambasting me and declaring that I was what was wrong with the community, and that your methods would vindicated in the end. Instead, ever since my departure from your community, the moderation methods have continued to drive down participation until you're as much of an echo chamber as conservatism used to be.

And yes, I have been keeping track ever since I left. I like to have evidence to vindicate my viewpoints - and yes, it did vindicate them - and the best evidence is mathematical in nature. Enduring your sneers against Americans and lofty conspiracies about RAC - ridiculous in nature and concept - was worth it to be proven correct. Even this response, in which it shows you are unable to take a little bit of ribbing, is worth it. I was right, you and (as usual) Jeff were wrong, and I'm taking pleasure in winning. Gloating, if you prefer.

"If the trigger for this unexpected diatribe was Chessdev's recent umpteenth copy-pasta, you can convey to him and the others that you've surely been discussing this with on RAC that the requirement for personal input stays."

It was not. This was meant to be sent to you on October 4th, but I was invited to [CENSORED] and so put it off for a more convenient time. Never understood your bugaboo about RAC, though.

"Thank you and have a nice day."

You really shouldn't say things that you don't mean. :)

Also, enabling your privacy options so you cannot receive messages is truly a sign of cowardice. Noted and documented. I further win.

The News


Food For Thought

A lot of philosophies that don't work will work "on the Internet". Big practical problems with some philosophies don't exist, so long as your whole world is "the Internet" and your whole population is "people I talk to on the Internet. That population is disproportionately English speaking, wealthy and white, though I suspect no longer significantly more male than the real world's population. That world is one where scarcity is artificial, your identity is very fluid, and geography is largely irrelevant, while the real world is full of all-too-real scarcity, our identities are very static and largely defined by others and geography dominates everything.

I actually like the results of this, on the Internet. I've said before here that I even find 4chan's /b/ gives me hope for the world. But that's because /b/ is on the Internet. If it was a building on the street where I live I'd probably want it closed down ASAP. The video game Rust is a useful metaphor here too. Inside that video game I find Yahtzee's observation that people are very polite to each other when they both have guns to be optimistic. In the context of a video game that doesn't impose or even suggest such a rule, a MAD-like uneasy truce between powerful opponents feels like an endorsement of the general concept of civilisation. But out here in the real world you don't respawn when somebody breaks the social norms, so we need to set the bar higher.

-- Comment from a resource I frequent

The News


News 2014.03.21


News 2014.03.20


News 2014.03.19


News 2014.03.18

News 2014.03.17


News 2014.03.16


Fun Things You Will Find Here

My reproduction of the The Encyclopedia of American Loons:

Entry #011: Arthur M Baker
Entry #012: Chuck Baldwin
Entry #013: Matt Barber
Entry #014: David Barton
Entry #015: Gary Bates
Entry #016: Henry Bauer
Entry #017: Glenn Beck
Entry #018: Michael Bernard Beckwith
Entry #019: Nick Begich
Entry #020: Michael Behe
Entry #021: Fred Bell
Entry #022: John Benneth
Entry #023: Jerry Bergman
Entry #024: David Berlinski
Entry #025: Leo Berman
Entry #026: Rosalie Bertell
Entry #027: Al Bielek
Entry #028: Don Bierle
Entry #029: Mark Blaxill
Entry #030: Mark Blitz
Entry #031: Tim Bolen
Entry #032: Christopher Bollyn
Entry #033: Alan Bonsell
Entry #034: Pat Boone
Entry #035: William G Boykin
Entry #036: Troy Brooks
Entry #037: Wiley Brooks [?]
Entry #038: Sam Brownback
Entry #039: Sylvia Browne
Entry #040: Caleb Lee Brundidge
Entry #041: Nancy Bryson
Entry #042: Pat Buchanan
Entry #043: William (Bill) Buckingham
Entry #044: Tom & Lisa Butler
Entry #045: Rashid Buttar
Entry #046: Harold Buttram
Entry #047: Arthur Butz
Entry #048: Bradley Byrne

Entry #049: Roger J Callahan & Gary Craig
Entry #050: Kirk Cameron
Entry #051: John Angus Campbell
Entry #052: Harold Camping
Entry #053: Alan Cantwell
Entry #054: Fritjof Capra
Entry #055: Thomas A Carder
Entry #056: Barbara Cargill
Entry #057: Russell Carlson
Entry #058: Jim Carrey
Entry #059: Lee Carroll & Kryon
Entry #060: Robert Carter
Entry #061: Willis Allison Carto
Entry #062: Jack Cashill
Entry #063: Kristia Cavere
Entry #064: Gerald Celente
Entry #065: Tim Chaffey
Entry #066: Joseph Chambers
Entry #067: Bruce Chapman
Entry #068: Betsy Chasse
Entry #069: Liz Cheney
Entry #070: Jack Chick
Entry #071: Gary Chism
Entry #072: Deepak Chopra
Entry #073: Tom Coburn
Entry #074: Andrew Cohen
Entry #075: Don Colbert
Entry #076: John Coleman
Entry #077: William B Collier
Entry #078: Charles Colson
Entry #079: Ray Comfort
Entry #080: Kenneth & Gloria Copeland
Entry #081: Salvador “Sal” Cordova
Entry #082: Billy Corgan
Entry #083: Bob Cornuke
Entry #084: Jerome Corsi
Entry #085: Martin Cothran
Entry #086: Robert Haig Coxon
Entry #087: Don & Carol Croft
Entry #088: John Crowder
Entry #089: Robert Crowther
Entry #090: Tom Cruise
Entry #091: Ken Cuccinelli
Entry #092: Rebecca Culshaw

Entry #093: Brad Dacus
Entry #094: Peter D'Adamo
Entry #095: Kimberly Daniels
Entry #096: John Davis
Entry #097: John A Davison
Entry #098: Lorraine Day
Entry #099: Vox Day (& his Dad)
Entry #100: Tom DeLay
Entry #101: Randy Demain
Entry #102: Gary DeMar
Entry #103: William “Bill” Dembski
Entry #104: Tom DeRosa
Entry #105: Donald B “Don” DeYoung
Entry #106: Brendan Dixon
Entry #107: James Dobson
Entry #108: Creflo & Taffi Dollar
Entry #109: Bill (William A) Donohue
Entry #110: Larry Dossey
Entry #111: Uri Dowbenko
Entry #112: Robert Dowling
Entry #113: Wiley Drake
Entry #114: Dinesh D’Souza
Entry #115: Peter Duesberg

Nov. 27th, 2013

Many conservatives are taking issue with the Pope Francis' latest statement Evangelii Gaudium/ Specifically, they take issue with the following excerpt:

A Lengthy CutCollapse )

Since this stands contrary to libertarian and conservative promotion of the absoluteness of the free market in its ability to solve whatever problems exists in the world, the natural reaction of these political factions is revulsion. What conservative and libertarian thought in this case fails to realize is this: as a society, we are facing a serious problem: employees are not needed anymore. A thousand years ago every able worker could find work because the human labor was not very productive. If all you can do is manually plant seeds, the farmer needs hundreds and hundreds of workers to do *anything* on his land. He would pay very little for this work, since he, in turn, would also gain very little from this work.

Today the farmer does not need to hire crowds of workers. (At least, not in a modern, industrialized society.) Today one person can work a huge field; he is very efficient. In the cities, robots assemble cars, computers, and other products. Most of what we see around us is assembled by robots. Some products cannot even be assembled by hand (electronic components, as an example). We do not need millions of ditch diggers anymore. We need scientists, engineers, programmers, technologists, doctors, writers, etc. But those avenues are closed to many people. It takes effort and some talent to study complex math; it takes very good memory to remember all the bones and all the muscles and all the nerves in the human body; it takes fertile imagination to write an interesting book or to produce an entertaining movie. It is hard enough to learn when you are young; it is ten times as hard when you are 50 years old and have bills to pay. This transition is not just difficult; it's plain impossible for most of the populace.

This means that automation and ever-growing efficiency of manufacturing are eliminating the need for simple manual labor. 50 years ago, a worker would be making a crude gear on a lathe or on a specialized milling machine, and he'd spend a day doing it. Today one worker only monitors ten computer-controlled machining centers, and his only job is to load materials and tools, and remove finished parts. To make things worse, this machining cannot be done by hand anymore. Nine machinists are looking for a job now. Will they find it? Only if they become MasterCAM programmers, or mechanical engineers, or technologists, or designers. Even then we'd be wondering if we need so many engineers: 100 developers at Apple made 100 million iPhones happen. This is a huge step outside of a "cell phone makers' guild," where each master would need a month to make one phone.

If someone doesn’t have natural abilities - and many do not - then what do they do in a modern society? What do unskilled laborers do in a society that has no need for unskilled laborers? Pope Francis recognizes that this is a problem. It is also one that is not easily solved, as the simple answers are also harsh and horrifying ones.

Nov. 7th, 2013

* That whole Colorado secession thing? As expected, it went nowhere. This is Farchivist's lack of surprise.

* So Rand Paul says that Christie shows there are room for moderates in the GOP. It seems the base is divided on whether this is heresy or not. Two separate responses from here:

"I give Paul credit for extending an olive branch. Christie is way too liberal for us, but he has proven uncommonly effective in ripping people new a$$holes. Paul is trying to build alliances and it would be good if Christie let out his venom outside the party."
- be-baw

"And, THIS is the reason why Rand Paul, like his father before him, will come to naught. Rand Paul appears to not understand just who and what elected the fat man to office. He was elected by libtards and independents, who have recognized Christie as who he is - one of them."
- SoldierDad

* Per a (now former) Tory Mayor in the UK, disabled children should be guillotined. Hasn't backed down from that statement either. To quote: "It shows how peculiar we are as a society on this matter that we spend this vast amount of money caring for disabled youngsters to very little purpose at all. It would be better spent on those who might actually benefit, such as cancer sufferers. We have 5,800 people waiting to go into hospital in Swindon. A percentage of those will die as a result of waiting too long."

Y'know, if you want to practice Social Darwinism, go right ahead. But it's not going to make you popular.

* This cross-country runner refused to run a race because she was assigned the number 666.; It's just too bad that isn't the Number of the Beast. The actual Number of the Beast is 616; - coincidentally, the area code for Grand Rapids, Michigan, the home of Amway. Woops!

* Bro, I hate to tell you, but there is no way that Ted Cruz is going to ally with Tom Tancredo and form a new party. Ted Cruz is already well-aware that Tancredo is bat-shit crazy and wants nothing to do with him.

* If you already know why I am extremely cynical of humanity, you do not need to click this. Really. Fair warning.

(no subject)

A lot of people are probably going to say that Ken Cuccinelli lost because of a Soros-funded Libertarian candidate and the lack of support from RINOs. There is probably a small amount of fact in this, but it doesn't wash as an entire explanation. I never expected Cuccinelli to really win in the first place, and was surprised when Free Republic kept claiming massive support on his part. Here's why I didn't think he would win:

* First off, there was his whole investigation of climate science that backfired on him very badly. You'll find a lot of legal experts around the web, conservative and liberal, who pretty much agreed his demands didn't stand a chance. There was a lot of internal criticism that he wasted state funds on what was a quixotic legal fiasco.
* Secondly, he's got a real bug up his ass about sex that makes Ashcroft's covering of the statues look tame. He finds the state seal sexually offensive. He's really wants sodomy banned - and it included oral and anal sex between men and women.
* He believes it was God's will that he be the Attorney General. Hate to tell you, son, but if the Vatican didn't say that? It ain't so.
* He's a big fan of 'personhood' legislation This does not sell well with most people, who tend to recognize the dodgy implications of personhood legislation.
* He believes LGBT are not protected under the 14th Amendment. Sad for him, the Supreme Court really disagrees.
* Then there are his conspiracy theories about the Social Security Number and how Obama stole the election, both of which are just so much hogwash.

These are reasons why I thought he would lose. I did not think he would carry the cities with these viewpoints and you need the cities to win. Virginia is not a stronghold of Southern Baptists, who skew conservative and allow the cities to be won down here in the Deep South. And he didn't. People will say "Well, it was a narrow loss." That's correct - and perhaps a bit of moderation to a few of his viewpoints would have caused the swing to get him elected.

Only Religious Crispies (you know, fried on faith?) like very social conservatives. They pass easy in Georgia, in Alabama...but Virginia has never been a Crispie state in general. Your average conservative male, for instance, is not going to go along with a guy who thinks outlawing fellatio is a good idea. Or most conservative women, for that fact.

Ah well. It's not like anyone's going to pay much attention anyway. In the GOP Civil War, the Religious Crispies didn't get their way in Alabama either. That's rather telling.

Nov. 6th, 2013

I haven't posted much because I don't have much to say, really. At least, nothing that people are going to be interested in hearing.

Let's start with some of that, eh? Let's look at this picture:

Looks like a lot of Red in that state, right? Looks like it should have been an easy win for Cuccinelli, yeah?

What pictures like these don't take into account is population density. That's the Republican/Tea Party problem in a nutshell. They are a party of rural areas. At last count, in 2010, only 17.7% of the nation lives in rural areas. While it looks good on a map and may win Congressional districts? It doesn't mean you'll win when the whole state votes on something.

So let's look at the state of Virginia in accordance to population density:

Compare this picture to the one above.
So, when are conservatives in general going to start to appeal to the urban masses again? Because that is how you win an election. With people. On your side. And the more urbanized/technological/industrialized the USA becomes, the more you are going to need to appeal to those masses. The closer you are, the more liberal you get.

The Continuing Trial of david_deacon

And boy howdy, is it continuing.

We need a recap. Let me be frank about what he's in for. I could post the criminal complaint here, but I won't because it contains the minor's name and I won't do that. Trigger Warning: Sexual CrimesCollapse ) If you want the details and nasty, go find the complaint. I'm not putting that here. Period.

Let me also be clear: I hope he rots in hell.

Since then, he's been unable to afford the $200K bail that he needs to secure his release and has been existing in limbo awaiting for his trial date. That trial date has now been set: October 21, 2013, 0830 CST.

Since his incarceration, he has been DNA-tested, AIDS-tested, and the judge has granted the usual motions for discovery. But it seems all is not well with david_deacon...

First, on 8/16/2013, david_deacon filed a motion to have his bond reduced. By himself. Without getting his court-appointed attorney involved. This motion has not yet been decided. I do not think it will go in his favor.

Second, he has filed a motion on 9/10/2013 to fire his court-appointed attorney and get another one. Or represent himself pro se. Why?

Here's WhyCollapse )

This, with the court date on October 21st. I'm wondering if he's going to pro se this like New Mexico.

One of the various outside-LJ conservative train wrecks that I've been watching is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's school voucher program. Signed into existence in April 2012, it was considered to be the most ambitious school voucher program ever put into place. It quickly gained a lot of controversy due to its proposed funding: Kingfish Jindal was just going to divert money from the public school system to fund the vouchers, causing several teacher layoffs. Better yet, there were essentially no qualification strictures in place to make sure the private/religious teachers could properly teach. And when I say NONE, I mean NONE. Nor did the private/religious schools have to adhere to any core curriculum set by the state; they could just teach whatever they wanted however they wanted. This worked out as well as you think it would.

Well, the Louisiana Supreme Court finally ruled that the funding mechanism of taking money from public schools was unconstitutional according to the state constitution Unsurprisingly, they're having trouble finding the money for it without raising taxes.

And now the real results are in: the voucher students, 92% of whom are in new religious private schools, are scoring inferior to the public school students. Seven of the schools were so bad they've banned from receiving new students from the voucher program. They get to keep their current students, though.

All in all, a train that's going to have some bad impact on the future of the children of Louisiana.

If anyone is ever curious as to why I'm not such a huge fan of homeschooling, this is why. While my personal friends have always been very good about how they would homeschool, I have encountered many who just want no oversight or testing in how they homeschool. And frankly? This kid was just plain lucky.

The rest of his family. 11 brothers and sisters. One of them, middle school age, who can't read. Can't read. The father started homeschooling because he was impressed by some homeschoolers from his church:

He was struck by two children at his church who were taught at home. They seemed advanced academically, but he was even more impressed by the life skills they were learning. “The young woman was doing homemaking, sewing, learning to cook, and the boy was doing farming,” able at 13 to raise and sell a bull calf, he said.

Those sound like wonderful things to know. The young woman will make a perfect stay-at-home wife. I hope her husband can afford that. The young man, I am sure, will be an excellent farmer...assuming he's able to take up farming and doesn't go bankrupt or sell out to an agricorp. Or get edged out by the new picker robots. Average farmer yearly pay? $30K a year. That's...that's just plain sad.

The father's profession? General fix-it guy and handyman. Good skills to have...crap pay to expect. And why aren't the parents picking up the homeschooling better? No time - have to work, have to scramble for cash.

My fear, basically, is that most homeschooling families are like this instead of my friends.

Entry #140: Ann Gauger

Gauger has a PhD in zoology and is a signatory of Discovery Institute’s 2005 petition “Scientific Dissent from Darwinism”. She’s currently associated with the Discovery affiliated creationist think-tank the Biologic Institute whose goal is to perform real research on ID and which has yet to produce a single publication supporting ID creationism despite big budgets and numerous employed “scientists”.

A rather infamous incident occurred when Gauger reported on her work at the Wistar Retrospective Symposium, 2007, in Boston, Massachusetts. She discussed “leaky growth” in microbial colonies at high densities, leading to horizontal transfer of genetic information, and announced that under such conditions she had actually found a novel variant that seemed to lead to enhanced colony growth. Gunther Wagner, a real scientist, asked the obvious question: “So, a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?” at which point the moderator halted questioning - Gauger has earlier argued that any evolutionary change is non-adaptive.

Ann Gauger and Douglas Axe recently got a paper out concerning the evolution of proteins, published in Michael Behe's journal (since its lack of understanding of the material/dishonesty would definitely prevent publication anywhere reputable). Their understanding of the papers they audaciously refer to is discussed here. Gauger fails population genetics, as presented in a documentary shot, apparently, in the Biologic Institute’s new laboratory.

(Note: I haven't been able to find a pic that I can reliably identify as the Ann Gauger of this entry. If anyone can point me to one, please let me know)

Diagnosis: Surely intelligent, but caught up in a system of self-reassuring but misguided views on how reality hangs together. The Biologic Institute is supposed to provided creationism with a sheen of scientific legitimacy, and although its existence may carry some influence on general perception of creationism (then again, probably not), it has failed to fool scientists or scholars in general (apart from Robin Collins).

Entry #139: Maggie Gallagher


A.k.a. Margaret Gallagher Srivastav

Writer and commentator Maggie Gallagher, a syndicate columnist for Universal Press Syndicate and author of five books, is best known as the president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. Guess what their stance is on e.g. gay marriage. She is also former president of the National Organization for Marriage (now run by Brian Brown), an organization attempting to organize opposition to recognition of same-sex couples in state legislatures (their ads have garnered some fame; they simply must be seen). She is obviously against abortion and believes that Roe v. Wade should be overturned (believing that most people who support legal abortion do so reluctantly because they think it is a necessary evil), and received some minutes in the spotlight during the Schiavo case (she thinks legalizing euthanasia diminishes the value of life among the sick and elderly, though her reasoning is less than translucent). Similarly, gay marriage, according to Gallagher, diminishes the value of heterosexual marriage (the argument is, well, non-existent. It’s an assertion). A nice portrait is here.

According to Gallagher “once the principle [of same-sex marriage] is in the law, the next step will be to use the law to stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation”, and as evidence she cites efforts by liberals to revoke the tax-exempt status of churches who oppose same-sex marriage. In other words, religious freedom means protecting religious people’s right to discriminate those who disagree with them. Her arguments against gay marriage are sometimes … slightly paranoid, when they are not simply insane: see here, here, and here.

She also believes that abstinence-only sex education should be the sole curriculum taught, and advocates discontinuing all safer-sex education in public schools.

She was the subject of some controversy after receiving tens of thousands of dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services during 2002 and 2003 for helping the George W. Bush administration promote the President's Healthy Marriage Initiative. During this time, Gallagher testified before Congress in favor of “healthy marriage” programs, but never disclosed the payments. All in all Maggie Gallagher is the kind of person who would actually benefit from an Intro to ethics class, but who would never sign up for one.

Probably not related to the sad, pathetic once-comedian Leo Gallagher, but could have been.

This comment is pretty apt. Here's Maggie Gallagher's Thanksgiving advice.

Diagnosis: Paranoid fanatic, who likes collecting arguments – no matter how bad (since she is unable to discern good from bad arguments) and machine-gunning them forth whenever she has the opportunity. Virulently blathering idiot, in other words. Her direct impact is uncertain, but she seems to wield some political power.


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